Ecstasy Found in Body of Missing Calif. Firefighter

Aug. 02--Traces of Ecstasy were found in the body of an Arcadia firefighter who disappeared in the Los Padres National Forest after he ran after his dog at a campsite, toxicology reports show.

Toxicology tests performed on Michael Herdman also found evidence of caffeine, ethanol -- which could indicate alcohol use or be a product of decomposition--and amphetamine, used to treat narcolepsy, obesity and hyperactivity disorders.

Michael Tellez, senior deputy medical examiner for Ventura County, declined to comment about the toxicology reports.

Detectives were aware of the reports, said Don Aguilar, a spokesman for the Ventura County Sheriff's Department, adding that they did not find any evidence of Ecstasy at the scene.

The investigation into Herdman's disappearance and death, he said, has concluded.

Herdman, 36, died of blunt-force trauma, which probably occurred after he fell from a cliff less than a mile from the campsite that he disappeared from June 13, said Ventura County Medical Examiner officials.

Coroner's officials said Herdman, whose injuries were consistent with a major fall, had been dead for at least a few days.

Sheriff's officials believe Herdman may have tried to climb the cliff in the dark while searching for his dog and fell.

"Candidly, I'm not sure if we'll ever get an answer because he's the only one who can answer about why you go so far in the middle of the night like that," Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said in a news conference at the time.

For breaking news in Los Angeles and throughout California, follow @VeronicaRochaLA. She can be reached at veronica.rocha@latimes.com.

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